Yes – you can build a decent website for free. I will outline five online tools that will leave you with neither an embarrassing website nor a large bill!
1. Weebly – I do not know how these guys make money. One of the biggest challenges with do-it-yourself websites is the designs. They're usually TERRIBLE. As in, don't touch it with a 10-ft pole terrible. The designs on Weebly are great – provided you want a very simple, clean streamlined website that does not require robust e-commerce. I built a website in literally 15 minutes.
2. Site2You – You still need a hosting company and there's a $59.95 fee after your 7-day trial period, but you can get yourself up and running at no cost for the first seven days. The templates are a mix of great and overly busy. The site is easy to set up. This one took me the full hour, but I ended up with a more professional looking website.
3. freewebs.com – While there is a difference between the free version and the pro versions you can still set up great looking website. In the pro version you have access to lots of features (in future articles we'll help you decide if you actually need any of these features). The free version is completely free – no trial period.
4. Blogger and Wordpress – Two great blogging sites that are totally free. But did you know you can also build regular website using Blogger & Wordpress? These can be great, free tools and you can point your domain name to them so that it doesn't read "yourbusiness.blogger.com"
5. Apple's website building tool - I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of websites I've seen my students build using Apple's iWeb software. They're clean and simple and with a bit of guidance from a professional about what to include and how to avoid common mistakes you'll be well on your way. Of course, you want to have a Mac computer and you'll get the most mileage from the tool if you have a .mac account or another hosting account. Mac users can consider iWeb a good source for building a simple free website.
With all of the DIY tools remember one thing – your website is only as good as its content. Make sure your content isn't just "descriptive" or leading nowhere. Create content that asks for an action - moving visitors one step closer to being customers.
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